Violets volunteer in UK for NYU Global Initiative

September 5, 2013

Courtesy of Meg Patten

The NYU women’s soccer team spent 10 days in the United Kingdom this past August as part of the TeamNYUGlobal:Education, Service and Sport Initiative.

The program launched in August 2012, sending varsity NYU athletes abroad to serve as ambassadors in various cities in NYU’s Global Network University. There are three parts of the program. The first part, education, takes place while the athletes are still in New York and includes learning the culture, history or language of the global site. The second is conducting a youth clinic and volunteering at children organizations. The third is competing against local teams.

The National Association of Student Affairs Professionals awarded the program the National Silver Medal for being an outstanding program.

NYU men’s basketball successfully completed the inaugural trip to Italy touring Rome, Florence and Milan in August 2012. The Violets volunteered with children at the Dynamo Camp outside of Florence and played local teams such as Interperformance Selezione.

The soccer team began their trip in London, England on Aug. 6, and ended in Glasgow, Scotland on Aug. 16, with stops across the United Kingdom.

The first few days were spent in London, which included a walking tour of London’s neighborhoods with NYU London’s assistant director for Student Life Nigel Freeman, as well visits to the Tower of London, Covent Garden and Old Trafford — Manchester United’s stadium.

The Violets visited many sites on their way to Glasgow, including William Shakespeare’s birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon and Edinburgh Castle. The team also attended a West Bromwich Albion game in Birmingham.

To fulfill the international competition portion of the program, NYU teams are required to travel when their sport is in season. The women’s soccer team competed against the Watford Ladies FC, Manchester City Ladies FC and Hamilton Academical FC while abroad.

“Playing against professional teams was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I know all of us will never forget,” NYU junior goalie Meg Patten said.

A key part of the NYU program is to volunteer with an organization whose mission is to help children in-need. On Aug. 12, the Violets conducted a youth soccer clinic for 85 grade-school boys from the Teviot Rangers Junior FC in Plumstead, a region of South East London.

In Glasgow, the squad spent a day visiting the children of Yorkhill Children’s Hospital. NYU produced a video to entertain the children, which was shown at Yorkhill’s state-of-the-art MediCinema Center. The Violets also handed out NYU gear and visited individual patients. NYU student-athletes will also be raising funds for the hospital throughout the academic year.

“I know one of the highlights for me and the players was the visit to the Yorkhill children’s hospital,” head coach Michelle Canning said. “As athletes we often talk about courage and resilience, but I think we have a lot to learn from those children and their families.”

Patten echoed Canning’s sentiments about the service portion of the trip.

“Aside from touring London, my favorite part of the trip was volunteering at both the youth soccer clinic and at the children’s hospital in Glasgow,” Patten said. “We were afforded so many incredible opportunities, which were made only possible by TeamNYUGlobal and our coaching staff.”

The men and women’s golf teams, as well as the men’s volleyball team, will also participate in the TeamNYUGlobal Initiative during the 2013-2014 school year. In January 2014, these teams will travel around Spain to Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Sept. 5 print edition. Mary Jane Dumankaya is a staff writer. Email her at sports@nyunews.com

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